Robert Jones will not be confirmed as the Deputy Secretary for Policy and Enforcement in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Senate President pro Tem Don Perata announced yesterday that he will not bring the appointment back to the Rules Committee, having held two lengthy hearings on Jones' confirmation and having found Jones unsuitable. Here is the full text of Senator Perata's statement as stated in a press release issued Wednesday:
I do not intend to bring the appointment of Robert Jones back to the Rules Committee. He is the Deputy Secretary for Policy and Enforcement in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. We had two weeks of hearings on his appointment which resulted in dramatically different versions of events that occurred when he was Chief Counsel for the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement in 2005-2006.
His job, among other things, is to advise the secretary of the agency on enforcement policy issues. Yet, after only two months on the job, the ACLU had to remind him, in an exchange of letters, that a memorandum he authored and sent to the attorneys he oversees constituted "an overbroad prior restraint on speech".
The Senate Rules Committee, with its appointing authority, does not hear many labor appointments because the Governor doesn't care enough about working people to the fill the jobs in the labor agency.
And on the rare occasion when the Governor does appoint someone to a position with broad oversight over labor policy, he chose someone who solves problems with a 2x4 rather than knowledge of the civil service system and the law.
Mr. Jones is either insensitive or unaware of the chilling effect he has on attorneys who are charged with enforcing the statutes and regulations protecting California's workforce. He sets the tone when it comes to protecting the rights of California's workers and the testimony before the Senate Rules committee shows that Mr. Jones is tone deaf.
When Mr. Jones was asked during his confirmation hearing to reflect upon and reconsider the policy he had concocted and enforced – which was viewed by the ACLU as an infringement on the First Amendment rights of those he oversaw - Mr. Jones said he would do it all over again, given the opportunity.
I, for one, do not want to give him that opportunity. His apparent disregard for the rights of the individuals he oversees and his philosophy of management by intimidation leave me no option but oppose his appointment.
Record of Gubernatorial Appointments to Key Positions Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Director of Department of Industrial Relations was vacant for three and a half years until John Duncan was appointed in August 2007.
The labor commissioner job was vacant for 18 months until Angela Bradstreet was appointed in June 2007. It was also vacant for the first year this Governor held office.
The chief of the Occupational Safety and Health Division job was vacant for the entire time this Governor has been in office (since November 2003), nearly four years, until Len Welsh was appointed last October.
Andrea Hoch left the job of director of the division of workers compensation in October 2005. This job was vacant for two years until Carrie Nevans was appointed in October 2007.
There are five deputy directors for the Employment Development Department but only one is currently serving.
The position of workers compensation court administrator was vacant for 18 months until it was filled in June 2005.
The position of labor and workforce deputy secretary now occupied by Mr. Jones was vacated in July 2004 and not filled for three years until Jones was appointed in June 2007.You can watch the senator's unedited remarks here, http://www.calchannel.com/MEDIA/0528D.asx, beginning the 1:14:00 mark.